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RingTrue with Yemi Adebowale: Ransom to Kidnappers now Certified in Nigeria

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 yemi.adebowale@thisdaylive.com; 08054699539 (text only)
The accounts of how families of the abducted students of Ahmadu Bello University negotiated with kidnappers, visited them in the forest and made payments to secure the release of their children are worrisome. In sound societies, the leadership of the security agencies along that axis would have been sacked. The nine students were abducted with scores of others on the notorious Kaduna-Abuja highway on November 15 and were kept in the forest for five days. Parents of the ABU 9 had to lead the drive to free their children because of the lackadaisical attitude of the security agents. When the traumatised families eventually struck a deal with the kidnappers, they were asked to congregate in a forest in Chikun Local Government Area and given directions into the specific location of the kidnappers. The kidnappers were so bold. Our security agents were the least of their worries. They went about the deal unperturbed about our so-called policemen and other security agents.
Imagine families going to pay kidnappers for the release of their loved ones and security agents on duty near the kidnappers’ den wishing them well. Yes, that was what happened to the families of the ABU 9. Security operatives along the corridor saw them heading into the forest and wished them luck. One of the parents remarked: “We met with security agents who were patrolling the area while on our way and they asked us where we were going to because it was late at night. We told them we were on our way to pay for the release of our relatives and the security agents wished us good luck.”
Security agents around the kidnappers den in Chikun Local Government were just having fun. I doubt if tracking and apprehending the kidnappers were part of their briefing. They simply looked the other way while parents of the ABU 9 continued their journey into the den of the kidnappers on November 20. It was so depressing. Clearly, this country is in a big security mess. That the venue for the ransom to the kidnappers is near the Kaduna State NYSC camp is even more upsetting. Another parent of the ABU 9 explains: “If you are travelling to Abuja from Kaduna, immediately after the NYSC camp, there is a solar light at a small village called Dutse. By the side, there is a tarred road that goes into Gwagwada but before we got to Gwagwada, there is a road that will lead you to Maro village. It was on our way to Maro that we were diverted into the forest. We are in serious trouble in this country because this thing happened just close to the NYSC camp.” This is happening in my beloved Nigeria.
It is so sad that the kidnappers were communicating with families of the victims via GSM phones for days and yet, security agents did not bother to track them. The abductors demanded a cumulative ransom of N270 million, asking each parent to provide N30 million. They eventually paid between N500,000 and N1,000,000. This is the level Nigeria has degenerated.
It seems there is an official endorsement of ransom to kidnappers. Security agents stand by and even advise families of victims to negotiate well. What else should Nigerians expect when families of security agents also pay to free officers abducted? Back in September, a 33-year-old officer of the Department of State Services, Sadiq Bindawa, who was on a visit to his native Katsina, was traced to his house and abducted. His colleagues at the DSS offices in Katsina and in Abuja could not save him. He was killed even after his family and friends paid N5 million to his abductors. Bindawa worked at the DSS HQ in Abuja. Last September, an army officer, Colonel S.B Onifade was abducted on the Kaduna-Abuja highway and his family/friends paid N10 million to the kidnappers. But Onifade was still killed.
The truth that must be told is that abductions and killings will persist if this government continues to keep the leadership of all security agencies in this country. Leadership has failed our security agents. Besides, our police, DSS, military and the rest are poorly equipped and poorly motivated. As a result, evil people will continue to abduct, rape, collect ransom and will hardly be apprehended. I am shocked that guilt is not gnawing the souls of those charged with the responsibility of protecting hapless Nigerians. Those being paid to protect us are not ashamed of their unending failings. The leadership of the security agencies persistently come out bald-headed, claiming to be on top of the situation, whereas, they are far away from it. I often grimace at their words. Our security agents show frightening ineptitude. We often see captors communicate with families of victims for weeks; yet, security agents are unable to track and smoke them out. Even President Buhari does not know the way out of this security mess.
The latest in Nigeria’s orgy of killings is the murder of a first class traditional ruler in Ondo State, the Olufon of Ifon, Oba Israel Adeusi last Thursday by unknown gunmen. Last Sunday, the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nasarawa State, Philip Tatari Shekwo was kidnapped in his house and murdered. His body was dumped few meters from his residence at Anguwar Bukan -Sidi in Lafia metropolis last Sunday. In Rivers State, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Ebenezer Kalabo Amah, was abducted in his house and murdered.
In Kaduna State, an activist, Rabiu Awwal was killed by bandits during an attack in his community on November 20. In Katsina State, bandits attacked PDP’s Chairman in Sabuwa Local Government, Lawal Dako, and shot him severally. He later died from the injuries. The granddaughter of the slain party council chairman was also shot and killed by the bandits during the attack. Last Monday, kidnappers entered Ahmadu Bello University, unhindered and abducted an official of the school at his residence at Main Campus, Samaru. As in previous cases, almost all these killers and kidnappers will never be apprehended. What a country!
While the kidnappings and killings in my beloved Nigeria pour, the level of clumsiness of our security agencies is sickening. A total overhaul is necessary if we want result. To do this, the present leadership of the security agencies must make way for a result- oriented one that will address the issues of leadership, equipment and quality manpower. As for our President, he should be ashamed of this security mess. The buck stops on his table. He should shape in or ship out.
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COLUMNISTS

PENDULUM BY DELE MOMODU: Who Shall Tell the President Nigeria is Dying?

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www.securenigeria365.com

Fellow Nigerians, please, take note of the title of my column this week. I did not say Nigerians are dying. That is stale news, as well as an understatement. My focus is that the country called Nigeria is dying. I do not know what sort of security briefing President Muhammadu Buhari, regularly or periodically, receives from his obviously reticent and incompetent security team. I doubt it includes the fact that Nigeria is speeding towards a monumental collapse, unless a miracle, or something drastic is done to stop this supersonic drift towards perdition. It might even be that the President does not receive any or proper security details, either because he does not want to hear or worse still, he assumes all is well. Whichever way one contemplates these last two scenarios, it is a calamity indeed.

Believe me, I’m not writing as a wailing wailer, or as a Prophet of doom. I am not writing as a clairvoyant or a seer. I merely write as a realist. The symptoms of a failed nation are just too palpable to be missed or ignored by a reasonable people. I am not talking about a State which has failed because of social and economic policies that even the authors and protagonists cannot decipher or fathom. This nation is on the precipice because its leaders are playing Russian Roulette with the security of Africa’s biggest and most important country. It is all now a matter of guesswork, that the gun is loaded, but the way we are going it is looking like every chamber is now full and not just one. Whatever shot you fire is bound to be the killer shot. Our leaders clearly know this but are in such an inebriated state that they have become oblivious, impervious and immune to all the danger signals.

I know power makes people blind. It intoxicates, addles the mind and takes full possession of the powerful, especially if they want to play God. This is why I’m shocked that some Nigerians are already daydreaming about becoming President in 2023, when they have no guarantee that Nigeria will still be alive by then. Or maybe I should not be surprised because what better can one expect from this bungling class of crass elements. The usual leading contenders, as typical of this confounding breed of persons, are pretending that all is well, although they know much better having been the contributors to, and cause, of the problem. They must not be seen to be criticizing the rudderless, directionless and visionless government of President Buhari lest they are marked down as enemies of the President. They know that elections are never held here, stricto sensu. What we have is a selection process with the hapless people being trundled out to deceive the unsuspecting international observers who can’t believe that what they are seeing is possible even in a Banana Republic. Simply put, elections are largely controlled from the very top, where the omnipotent President holds sway, and the outcome of the selection process is dictated by his whims and caprices.

If nobody has yet told the President, then he must hear this somehow. Our security situation is more than dire and grim. It is now catastrophic. Nigerians are now being killed, kidnapped and raped in places that used to know only peace. The orgy of banditry has since moved from the core North and middle belt to Yorubaland, previously considered a safe haven. The tales are unbelievably horrid and terrible. The situation in Ondo State is so critical that the Governor Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has now cried out that the “Fulani bandits” must move out of his State within seven days. I salute him for having the courage to say it as it is, being a member of the same party as our most reluctant President who seems unabashedly unaware of the bloody forays and operations perpetrated by some of his kinsmen in far-flung territories and domains outside their traditional space. The Governor obviously cried out in utter exasperation, frustration and, perhaps, fear. I knew him as a die-hard Buharist. But only a bastard would sit arms akimbo and watch his mother or daughter being raped by some monsters and say or do nothing! That is the situation in which Arakunrin Akeredolu has more or less found himself. As with the President, he has discovered, albeit tragically, that family comes first. Nobody will watch over yours, when theirs is also threatened by the same fate. As the Yorubas will say, “a ki so ori olori, ki awodi gbe t’eni lo”!

Osun State has virtually become a major theatre of war involving series of killings and kidnappings. I don’t know if the Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, has been as vociferous as Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), but I am sure he is slowly being driven to come to the same conclusion. Akeredolu has nothing against the Fulani. There are many great and peaceful Fulani living in different parts of Nigeria. Some generations of Fulani people have fully integrated in those communities outside their sphere of influence without anyone raising eyebrows. But these bloodthirsty wanderers and vagrants, who are said to have meandered their ways from outside Nigeria, must be flushed out and ruthlessly dealt with regardless of whether the current President of Nigeria is their godfather, avuncular mentor, swami or whatever he represents to them.

The situation in Oyo State is just as scary. I have read the account from no less a personage than the highly respected and revered Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, another die-hard Buharist who now appears ready to part ways with Buhari if necessary. I have had the opportunity of sitting with Iku Baba Yeye, as we fondly call him, and I know how disappointed this esteemed traditional ruler is that the Federal Government has refused to act speedily and decisively on the matter of the gross insecurity ravaging and destroying the country. I was not surprised to receive his lengthy letter to the President days ago which I hope Buhari found time to read, or someone found the opportunity to read to him. I won’t bother to talk about very reserved and highly respectable and regarded Northern Leaders led by the spiritual monarch, The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, a cosmopolitan and cerebral leader I have come to love and adulate so much for his simplicity and forthrightness. Virtually every part of the nation is haemorrhaging to death while the Federal Government is watching helplessly and hopelessly!

The Alaafin has done well by properly documenting some of the dastardly acts of these merciless bandits and his public missive to our President, Muhammadu Buhari excerpts of which are worth repeating on these pages because the letter is one for posterity whatever fate befalls the entity presently known as Nigeria and whichever way the country goes in the end:
“In recent times however, I am worried about the security situation in the country, especially in the South West geo-political zone, nay the entire Yoruba-speaking area of the country including KWARA, Kogi, and Edo States.
“This has to do with the incessant and increasing menace of Fulani herdsmen that have laid siege in almost all the highways of Yorubaland. Whether in Owo, AKURE, Ilesanmi/Ife-Ibadan Road or Ibarapa zone and Ijebu area of Ogun State, the story is the same.

“I have held series of consultations with opinion moulders and eminent Yoruba leaders across board about the menace of these cattle herdsmen with such assault like raping of our women and on some occasions in the presence of their husbands. That is apart from massive destruction of our agricultural lands; which ultimately points to imminent starvation…
“After due consultations with Yoruba leaders… we are worried by the audacity of these lawless people in effecting their illegal acts in broad daylight on our usually bushy highways without any arm of security being able to do anything…
“Now, we cannot even talk of parading suspects, when in actual sense, no major arrests have been made in this part of the country. Without arrests we cannot talk of their facing of the law.
“Unfortunately, and painfully indeed, in the face of the apparent helplessness of our security agencies, where do we go from here?”

It is at the wake of this manifest frustration of our people that our people have found it unavoidable, even though reluctantly to resort to alternative measures to safeguard their lives and property… Today, it is not merely infraction in the course of doing business, but blatant and criminal violation of the constitutional right to life and liberty of innocent citizens of Yoruba land. A few publicly known instances will suffice.
Certain individuals were kidnapped along Erio-Aromoko Road, Ekiti State. They were tortured and exposed to danger in the forest for upward of two weeks.

These victims included the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikole Branch, Adeola Adebayo, whose decomposing body was eventually found after a ransom price of four million Naira had been paid.

Two officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, both Yoruba, were picked up along Ilesa-Akure highway. In the process of this kidnap, an unnamed individual died.

Musibau Adetumbi, a legal practitioner based in Ibadan, was going to attend an Appeal Court session in Akure when he was kidnapped along Ilesa-Akure highway. Professor Adegbehingbe, a surgeon at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife was abducted along Ibadan-Ile-Ife highway. Dr. Muslim Omoleke, the Administrative Secretary of the National Electoral Commission was kidnapped around Ilesa, Osun State.

Mr Ayo Oladele, an employee of Guinness Nigeria, and an Old Student of Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, was abducted and taken away and lately, Dayo Adewole, son of a member of your 2015-2019 executive council and Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole was kidnapped on his farm at Iroko, a village along Ibadan-Oyo Road…

As ugly as the picture above seems to be, the people of Yoruba land have remained generally peaceful and have resisted concerted efforts to push them into civil disobedience or adopting self-help mechanisms to protect themselves…

I am therefore writing to you, as a concerned stakeholder in your administration, to alert you and demonstrate to you, the urgency of the need to quickly respond to these and other issues concerning Yoruba land….

There is a general impression among opposition group that you are not known to take decisive and proactive steps in many matters of national interest and that you are not usually too disturbed about the gale of insecurity in Yoruba land…

As no major arrest of Fulani pseudo herdsmen has been made till date in Yoruba land, suspects cannot be paraded, let alone arraigned…

I am aware that members of the Odua People’s Congress scattered all over the world are already being mobilized to stand in the defence of their land and are ready, willing and able to raise an army of volunteers as was done in 1968 by the Agbekoya…”

These are pearly words of wisdom and advice from a monarch who is practically deified in Yoruba land. The President has been stridently admonished and strongly advised in forceful, resounding and vibrating language which is reverberating all over the polity. Effectively, Alaafin Adeyemi is saying that enough is enough and that things will get pretty unpleasant and nasty, pretty soon, unless the President wakes up from his deep, almost comatose, slumber and does the needful by a wholesale revamp and reshaping of our security architecture and thereby protect his fellow Nigerian citizens. The President swore to uphold our Constitution, it is about time that he started upholding that oath by acting like a patriotic Nigerian and safeguarding all his people and preserving their property.

On a similar note, I have been watching the videos of a militant Yoruba man, named Sunday Igboho, from Oyo State and what I see is raw determination to unleash mayhem, if need be, to protect his kinsmen from the brigands and mosstroopers trampling on them and their rights. The views Igboho expresses are symptomatic and reflective of the views of most of Yoruba land. He is the latest Yoruba hero for his fearlessness.

I hope and pray that President Buhari would appreciate this authentic security briefing from The Alaafin, one of Africa’s most important custodians of tradition and culture and resist the temptation of sending his trigger-happy military against the people of Oyo State. They are obviously ready for a full-scale showdown and battle in order to redeem their manhood against the rampaging kidnappers, rapists, raiders and corsairs. I foresee a civil war and bloodbath if action is not taken soon.

May this cup pass over us…

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COLUMNISTS

Your lamentations over Gov. Umahi’s defection is becoming childish, Eze tells PDP

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Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) Chief Eze Chumwuemeka, has expressed discomfort at the continued lamentations of the People’s Democratic Party over the recent movement of Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State from the badly perforated umbrella that has lost the strength and capacity to maintain its relevance and shield members from the rains, to the progressives family.

 

In a statement made available to media houses, the party Chief restated that it remains within the exclusive preserve of every member of a political party to pitch tent with another political association where his genuine grievances, especially those affecting public interests  are not properly addressed, noting that the unnecessary blabbing of the opposition party on the issue is a gross display of deliberate iconoclasm.

 

Excerpts from the statement read “I have watched with utter disbelief and nostalgia the naked and macabre dance by some PDP bigwigs since Engr. Dave Nwaze Umahi, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State and South East Chairman of Governors Forum decided to join forces with the ruling party at the centre, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) in order to give political direction to Ndi Igbo”.

 

“By his defection to the APC, Governor Umahi, has proven that he is politically ahead of his peers and especially, considering his developmental strides in turning Ebonyi State, a once neglected and underdeveloped State in Nigeria into the most developed State in the country”

 

The APC chieftain averred that the infrastructural revolution ignited by his administration in Ebonyi state is a very critical tool and determinant factor in governance and justifies his defection from the crippling and sinking People Democratic Party to the progressives family. He said Umahi’s movement has suddenly ignited the daily babbling of misguided leaders of the PDP who have now resorted to acts of ill will in a bid to distract the performing Governor from his determination to make the difference in governance.

 

Chief Eze said Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State kick-started the attacks on the erstwhile exceptional leader of PDP in the South East for defecting to APC and after shouting himself hoarse, the embattled and soon to be sacked National Chairman of PDP, Chief Uche Secondus followed suit with the wrong perception that calling Governor Umahi unprintable names will will win him favour to sustain his office.

 

Furthermore, Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the ensuing efforts to disparage Umahi launched a similar attack, although he got lost on what to say.

 

The party stalwart said every true progressive and Nigerian patriot will derive pleasure to learn what vacuum the defection of Governor Umahi has created in the opposition PDP, stressing that with the excruciating pain suffered by the PDP following his exit, the battered umbrella political organization seems to have lost relevance and direction.

 

The latest and most laughable of all the lamentations is the one that came from one funny but irrelevant fellow who claims to be the Publicity Secretary of the collapsed PDP in Ebonyi State, Mr. Silas Onu, who in an effort to justify the monthly peanuts he gets, attempted to disparage the image of Governor Umahi, but only succeeded in making a fool out of himself.

 

In his futile effort, he stated that the PDP is threatening to write US, UK governments alleging that Umahi is plotting to kill some of the PDP bigwigs in the State.

 

Addressing a press conference on Abuja the Publicity Secretary of the chapter, Silas Onu, raised alarm that the present holiday season may be the bloodiest in the state’s history in view of the stockpiling of arms in the state.

 

“The British High Commission, Canadian High Commissioner and the Ambassador of the United States of America are called upon to take a special interest in Ebonyi State as the government have continually resorted to uncivilized methods for political engagements.

 

“Our petitions will be sent to all High Commissions and Embassies to draw attention towards this inhumane leadership style that cares less about human lives.

 

While also noting that the lives of the opponents of the governor are being threatened, he said the arms stockpile discovered in Abakaliki market should be properly investigated, noting: “The location of the interception is not a coincidence as no other authority have access into that market apart from the State government.

 

Taking the laughable lamentation of the PDP higher, the Acting National Vice Chairman of PDP, South-east Zone, Chief Ali Odefa alleged that it has uncovered plans by the State Government to assassinate members of the party that will include the former President of the Senate, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, former Governor of the State, Senator Sam Egwu, Senator Obinna Ogba amongst others

 

Eze condemned Mr. Fred Udogu, PDP Ebonyi Chairman for all the futile efforts to portray the Governor in bad light few who days ago petitioned the new Commissioner of Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies in the state just because he is asked to return the vehicle given to him by the State Government as a onetime functionary of the State Government is uncalled for.

 

Clearing the issue of the assumed threat on the life of the PDP State Chairman, Chief Emegha the commissioner for internal security stated that the vehicle which Mr. Udeogu is asked to return was allotted to him as the chairman of the capital territory Board. Now when he is relieved from his duties, did he supposed to go with the official vehicle meant for the commission?”

 

Eze asked does this issue amounts to threat to life and call for the unwarranted noise been peddled about by this mischievous fellow aimed at tarnishing the image of a God fearing Governor, Eze queried. He pleaded that, “we should try to play politics with morality and fear of God if we are to be taken serious as leaders”.

 

Eze described all of the allegations as destitute of reality, merely intended to distract the efforts of the Governor to provide leadership to the people of his State as Governor Umahi had no intention of harming any son or daughter of Ebonyi and as God will have it Ebonyi stands as the safest State during the yuletide period in the entire country.

 

He called on the leaders of the PDP to go back to the drawing board and review the architectural  design of the party to spot the defects and find  ways of fixing and repositioning the dwindling fortunes of the party and desist from politics of smear campaign and spurious allegations, stressing that such carriages will yield them no results.

 

If they think that the only solution to their litany of problems is to continue to raise unsubstantiated allegations against an Apostle of God who detests campaign of calumny and all forms of actions that contradict acceptable standard of human behavior, then their efforts must be exercises in futility.

 

While sympathizing with the PDP and its leadership for losing such a great asset and high ranking political leader like Umahi, Eze admonished the party to come to terms and accept the reality of the fact that the departure of Umahi from the PDP signifies an imminent collapse of the party in the South East.

 

Chief Eze said the PDP has failed abysmally in providing answers to the genuine concerns that prompted Umahi’s exit from the party which among others include the total neglect of the South East during her sixteen years of misrule in Nigeria, stressing that the administration of President Buhari has achieved so much not just for Ebonyi State but the entire South East region including the Second Niger Bridge, the Enugu International Airport, Onitsha to Enugu, Port Harcourt to Enugu and several other federal projects littered across the region.

 

Eze applauded Umahi for his bold step which has earned him the Poster Boy of the politics of South East and one of the revelations of the current political dispensation.

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COLUMNISTS

Why COVID-19 spares the poor….Doyin Okupe

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Have you been wondering why ordinary folks seem to be less affected by COVID-19? Whenever my drivers, house helps and security come back from their leave at home, I always asked them the state of things in their villages. Up till today in the last one year, none has come back with any news of deaths or serious illnesses requiring hospitalisation in their homes or surroundings.
I visited the Sabo Market in Sagamu (Ogun State) and the tomato market at toll gate in Ogere (Ogun State). I questioned many traders if any stall or store owners have been missing, or did not come to the market or have actually died. Responses were always negative.
So clearly the prevalence of noticeable infection with COVID-19 is less among the lower class and fatalities appear to be higher among the upper class. However, It is necessary to make some adjustment for the fact that deaths among the elite class readily get media attention than those of regular folks.
Melinder Gates prediction failed woefully because there was no way she could have foreseen this demographic prevalence factor in the spread of COVID-19. The overall infectivity and fatalities in Africa is disproportionately much lower than the rest of the World!!!
What is the magic here?
Simply put, the magic is SUNLIGHT. People who are daily exposed to sunlight are able to convert some chemicals in their skins to Vitamin D, especially D3. Scientist have incontrovertible evidence that Vitamin D seriously boosts the human immunity and actually have capacity to prevent respiratory and lung diseases. In the case of COVID-19, Vitamin D3 can prevent infection in some people and in others who still get infected , it decreases the severity of the infection and recovery rate is far better.
Recently a petition signed by 120 physicians spread across the globe (I have a copy) has been sent to world leaders and governments to treat vitamin D deficiency common in Europe and Americas, who have effective sunlight for just a few months in a year and hence have large numbers of the populace suffering from vitamins deficiency leading to high rates of susceptibility to covid19 infections and deaths.
Many of us elites in Africa are also Vitamin D deficient and this makes us ready targets for COVID-19 infections also. This is because we are hardly in the sun all year round. Yet a 30 minutes lounge daily in the bright sunlight gives one about 20,000 iu of vitamin D in our blood. This figure is much much more higher than our daily requirement, which is about 4000 iu of vitamin D.
This is why young people, students, hawkers, traders and many who toil daily under the Sun have very high immunity against COVID-19. So my dear elders, VIPs and Ogas please walk leisurely or lounge in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes daily, and with your face masks always on in public and observing normal COVID protocols, with daily supplications to the Almighty, you will place a ban on COVID-19 from affecting you and your household.
God bless you all.
Okupe, a Medical Doctor, was Adviser to former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.
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